Creative Award Rankings. And why they matter.

Make no mistake about it. The ultimate goal of a business is to grow sales.

James Hurman sheds some light on the same in The Case for Creativity: Three Decades Evidence of the Link Between Imaginative Marketing and Commercial Success. He explains that creatively-awarded campaigns deliver 11 times the return on investment of non-creatively awarded campaigns.

Not convinced? Here’s more.

According to a new study from the IPA and Thinkbox,  ‘Brands can buy awareness but not "buzz", which is best achieved by investing in creativity’. The research found that campaigns that invested in excess share of voice (ESOV) performed particularly well, and even creatively awarded work with lower levels of ESOV had a greater effect on business than non-awarded work. Advertising campaign effectiveness was measured by the ability to positively affect factors such as sales, profit and loyalty.

Telling Words

Jonathan Mildenhall, one of the leading luminaries in the world of Marketing famously said “If Cannes has taught me one thing, it is that creativity drives effectiveness. You can not have one without the other. That knowledge has been instrumental to my career. I have been going to Cannes for nearly 20 years and can’t help but notice that the client organizations recognized as Advertiser of the Year often enjoy periods of historic financial success during the same time.”

Then there’s the simple yet telling study by Peter Field, one of the leading statistical analysts exploring the connection between creativity, emotion and business effects.

Apples to Apples?

Peter had a set of 700-plus campaigns from around the world, for which he had robust media data and business results – all 700 had won an effectiveness award and therefore had submitted all sorts of results data for him to analyze. And he split them into 2 sets. In one set he put those campaigns that had one a creative award. In the other set, those that had won an effectiveness award but no creative award.  He then analyzed if there is a difference in the two.  

The clever thing he did was to create a common metric of effectiveness across all those campaigns, so no matter what country or category the campaign, he could compare effectiveness - apples for apples. The metric was for every unit of additional media spend, how much additional market share did the campaign achieve? (ESOV. Extra Share of Voice)

He found that those campaigns that had won a creative award, the truly creative campaigns, were on average 10 times more effective than those campaign that had not won a creative award. Now wasn’t that simple.

But how does creativity actually increase business, you ask.


Researchers at the Universities of Indiana and Wisconsin-Milwaukee showed that creatively-awarded advertising triggers greater purchase intent, and that this was because it measurably increases open- mindedness and curiosity. Consumers let their defences down more for creative advertising, allowing themselves to be sold to more readily.

Researchers at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising showed that creatively awarded advertising was twice as likely to generate strong ‘fame’, i.e. online and online conversation.

Research had shown that campaigns generating strong ‘fame’ to be the most effective of all campaigns.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina showed that creative advertising was significantly (2 to 9 times) more likely to be recalled unprompted than advertising in general.

The correlation between winning Creative Award and winning in the marketplace is compelling. And it’s high time someone recognizes it.

Welcome to the B&W REPORT.